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Disagreement about Khudon hydro electric power station

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, September 20
A rally was held outside the Courtyard Marriot Hotel on September 19th to protest the construction of the Khudon hydro-electric power station. NGO's and human rights' groups claim that constructing the dam will damage the region's natural and historical heritage.

Human rights defenders appealed to Prime Minister Ivanishvili to keep the promise he made before last year's parliamentary elections. They claim that the prime minister promised to stop the construction of large hydroelectric power stations. Demonstrators said they will continue their struggle and will continue their protests at Khudon.

Protester Lasha Chkhartishvili said protesters plan to hold another rally in front of the chancellery on September 25th. The rally took place at the same time that public discussion about the Khudon project was taking place at the Courtyard Marriot on Thursday.

According to the government, a climate model assessment demonstrated that creating the dam will not seriously affect the local environment. They did admit that the reservoir will have a slight cooling effect in the spring and summer and a warming influence in the autumn and winter.

The head of Caucasian House, Naira Gelashvili, said she understands hydroelectric stations very well and knows that the government plans to create more dams. “This will cause flooding of vast areas. Our government’s goal is to export electricity at a large profit. We should reevaluate this situation and determine how much electrical power we need.” Gelashvili stated.

Deputy of Minister of Energy Ilia Eloshvili, stressed that construction of the hydroelectric station is not directly related to economic development. He also said that the construction contractor company must obtain permission in March 2014. Eloshvili also stressed that the final decision about building the dam will only take place after consultation with local residents.